Friday, 17 June 2016

Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle

Reviewer: Catriona Troth

What We Thought:

Leye Adenle’s Easy Motion Tourist is a crime drama set in the dark underbelly of Lagos, where the inhabitants of the wealthy enclave of Victoria Island are more concerned with preserving their luxurious lifestyle than solving the murder of an unknown woman.

The Easy Motion Tourist of the title is Guy Collins, a British journalist who goes to Nigeria to cover elections for an obscure cable channel. One his first night in Lagos, he stumbles on the murder and mutilation of a young woman, is mistaken for a much higher powered journalist by the woman who runs Street Samaritans, a charity that aims to protect the city’s prostitutes, and is sucked into the hunt for men running a sinister trade in body parts.

The Lagos that Guy discovers is more dangerous and more bizarre than he could possibly have imagined. As he stumbles in the wake of Amaka – a woman who seems to know exactly what she is doing – he has his preconceptions repeatedly turned on their head. Almost nothing he believes about the country turns out to be true.

The story is told from multiple points of view, but it is to Guy that we return time and again. The viewpoint of the naive foreigner gives European readers a way into the story. We follow in his footsteps: nervous, disoriented and, by turns, horrified and fascinated.

The blurb for Easy Motion Tourist describes it as ‘Tarantino lands in Lagos.’ It’s a fair description. The scenes have a filmic quality, and the characters have that extra twist of lunacy that would fit well in a Tarantino cast. But while the world of Easy Motion Tourist is brutal, violent and not a little crazed, at its heart is a profound compassion for the sex workers trapped in a life where selling their bodies is the only alternative to destitution. Adenle gives these women a face and a voice and a story of their own.

You can read here how an accidental encounter with a sex worker while on a business trip to Lagos inspired Adenle to write Easy Motion Tourist.

You’ll Enjoy This If You Loved: Purple Cane Road by James Lee Burke, All Involved by Ryan Gattis, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

Avoid If You Dislike: Graphic Violence

Perfect Accompaniment: Fish Pepper Soup with lots of chilli

Genre: Crime Fiction, African Fiction

Available on Amazon

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